Y’all remember that Florida man who took being down with the Wu too literal? A federal judge gave 29-year-old Aaron Barnes-Burpo of Crestview, Florida, seven years in prison for pretending to be part of #WuTangClan in order to stay in luxury hotels and pay for other luxury services.
We first met Barnes and his accomplice 52-year-old Walker Washington in February 2020 when someone pulled the plug on their six figure scheme to steal hospitality services.
Barnes pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. According to CBS Atlanta, Barnes also was ordered to pay nearly $300,000 to the 19 businesses he defrauded in the scheme and must serve three years of supervised release after completion of his prison term.
Due to this being a federal crime, Barnes does not have a shot at parole.
His co-defendant, 52-year-old Walker Washington, of Augusta, Georgia, awaits sentencing in the case after also pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Considering there are 10 members of the Wu-Tang Clan, it might have not taken much to convince unsuspecting people that they were part of the group. But someone clearly caught on.
“For several weeks, these men defrauded multiple businesses by posing as famous musical artists and their retinue,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “Thanks to an alert hotel clerk, their phony hit parade came to an abrupt halt.”
In court documents and testimony, Barnes and Washington admitted that they falsely portrayed themselves as affiliated with the Roc Nation production company and Wu-Tang Clan as early as September 2019.
They used those identities along with stolen credit cards to rent luxury limousines and defraud hotels, caterers and production studios of thousands of dollars in goods and services across multiple cities, primarily in the Southeastern United States, authorities said.